February 14, 2018

Bringing Green Technologies & Jobs to the Inland Empire

California has long been touted as an innovation hub, boasting numerous tech startups and a perfect environment for the aspiring entrepreneur. Most minds will quickly jump to Silicon Valley as the model of a green economy, but leaders of the Green Valley Initiative Sustainable Economic Development Plan hope to widen this vision of sustainability to include parts of the Inland Empire. This initiative offers a scheme for attracting green business and jobs to the area, with the ultimate goals as follows:

  1. Reduce long commutes to and from the region;
  2. Promote more efficient use of under-utilized resources
  3. Align business and land-use practices to increase quality of life and promote sustainable economic development.

The recommended economic strategies to achieve these ends range from establishing a Green Tech Advocate to promoting the use of green building practices to conducting solar energy feasibility studies. Leaders in this march towards Inland Empire sustainability are also advocating for investments in research and entrepreneurship. Efforts in this arena already include the Center for Environmental Research & Technology (CE-CERT) at the university of California at Riverside, the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE) at California State University, San Bernardino, as well as a new Master’s degree program in Regenerative Studies at Cal Poly Pomona University.

Due to massive population growth in recent years, all seventeen colleges and universities located within the Inland Empire are gearing up for a substantial shift towards this type of research and commercialization of green technologies.

Jobs-Housing Imbalance
Many residents from the Inland Empire travel towards the coast to secure high-paying employment opportunities simply because comparable work is not available where they live. Thus, part of the motivation behind bringing green technology to the Inland Empire is to allow residents to find similarly high-paying work closer to home, which in turn would help combat traffic congestion and pollution associated with longer commutes.

Adult Education Levels
Educational attainment is one of the most reliable indicators of future employment success and household income. Overall, Inland Empire residents have relatively low levels of educational attainment, with a 2005 report estimating that nearly 25% of the adult population has earned less than a high school diploma. As such, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties are looking to develop training programs to support the wave of potential “green collar workers” in acquiring the technical skills needed to usher the region into a new era of sustainability.

For more information please visit: https://ced.usc.edu/files/2014/07/GVI-Economic-Development-Strategic-Plan.pdf